Isabella McElrath, Margaret Reliford, Daniel Bunson, Dusan Kovacevic
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Gayle Kaufman
The literature surrounding homeownership indicates that stable housing can have long-term social and financial benefits for homeowners. With the foundational belief that “everyone deserves a decent place to live,” Habitat for Humanity’s nationwide homeownership program provides low-income families a path to homeownership with an affordable mortgage. In collaboration with Our Towns Habitat for Humanity (OTH) in Cornelius, North Carolina, the purpose of this research was to better understand the ways that Habitat for Humanity has impacted the lives of its clients across Mecklenburg County. As part of a project-based Survey Research Methods course, we administered a survey to Habitat homeowners in an effort to quantify the differences in quality of life (QOL) before and after moving into their Habitat homes. The target population for the survey was the OTH client base of 291 homeowners currently residing in single-family Habitat Homes in one of six counties across the Davidson/North Mecklenburg area. The survey was designed to evaluate quality of life for Habitat homeowners, using health status, educational achievement, financial betterment, employment, and individual perceptions of safety as QOL indicators. The survey also included questions regarding basic demographics of the homes and homeowners. All 23 questions on the survey were multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, and open-ended questions. The survey was non-selectively administered via mail to 291 Habitat homeowners, which is representative of all the Habitat clients for whom Our Towns Habitat for Humanity had contact information. Clients for whom OTH did not have contact information and clients in the process of completing the Habitat homeownership program were excluded from this study. On behalf of OTH, participants were compensated (i.e.: one completed survey per home) with one $50 gift card to any Our Towns Habitat for Humanity ReStore.